Hello dear Ubisoft,Open World Design
I have been having a somewhat hard time enjoying your open world games in the last few years. Valhalla is in some aspects a step in the right direction and I just wanted to quickly point out some things, I think will make your games better, if I may.
- STOP MARKING EVERYTHING! If every point of interest is marked, it implies that the rest of the world has nothing to offer and makes players run from marker to marker. The world should be built in a way which makes the player want to explore it himself (without always following a marker). Example: a player is at a vantage point and sees an old ruin in the distance to the east -> the player marks the ruin manually (via the bird) -> on the way to the ruin the player discovers a cabin in the woods and goes to explore it -> in the cabin he finds a treasure map leading him to some stone formation far west -> the player marks the stone formation manually (via the bird). Now the player has discovered three things (ruin, cabin, stone formation) all on his own without any markers. This way of exploration would be more rewarding than running from marker to marker, I think.Combat
- Make enemies react to damage permanently. If an enemy is hit in the leg, make him limp. If hit in both legs, make him kneel or crawl. If an enemy is hit in the arm, make him drop his shield or weapon (being held in this arm), if hit in both arms, make him kick, flee or beg for mercy. The only thing you then have to balance is how hard it is to hit an enemy. They will have to block and dodge more or wear armor which needs a few hits to break. If you make your enemies able to maintain 100% strength while even at low health, it kills immersion. Also if you slash someone through the chest with your sword or pierce them with your spear and they continue fighting, it just doesn't feel as good as it could.AI / NPCs
- The world can only feel as alive as the NPCs which populate it. Make NPCs react more. Based on the players actions, he could e.g. be worshipped, respected, neutral, hated or feared among NPCs or enemies in a certain village. NPCs could flee, make comments, increase or lower the prices of their goods, gift the player, avoid the player, have less or more dialogue options, etc.. Having NPCs just as world filler material makes the world seem more like a backdrop and less like an interactive environment.
In my opinion those are the three big topics every Ubisoft open world game is suffering from.
Things you did well in Valhalla are for example:
less generic lootgear which can last forever if you take the effort of upgrading itrewarding rewards (like good gear or abilities when doing side-quests or activities)gaining level ups / skill points more frequently, but creating a skill tree in which only each 5th skill point spent (or so) makes a very big difference, the rest also helps you but not in a way that you get overpowered with all the skill points you earnfun minigames which make the world feel a little more alivea strategic element (like the war table and the home base - which could both be improved if there was a little more decision making involved)
I would also love to hear the opinions of fellow gamers. Maybe I am the only one who thinks those are Ubisoft's big problems?
Thanks for taking the time to read this!